I spent most of Saturday in a field in Bath, seriously outnumbered by women. They were there to take part in the Race For Life, a nationwide event which raises money for cancer research. I was there to support my daughter Joie who was one of the runners, absolutely resplendent in her radioactively pink-dyed hair.
The event made me think a number of things, one of which was to do with the potency of cheap music. Before the women took to the track, they limbered up and the first song that was played for this purpose was Ernie K.Doe’s splendidly daft Here Come The Girls, best known as ‘that song in that Boots commercial’ to most folks.
It’s a song with no political message whatsoever that I can detect. Ernie just liked the girls and wanted us to know it.
Yet, as soon as that distinctive horn riff started blasting out across the field, it became an anthem. Several thousand women leapt up, screamed and yelled and worked out and sweated profusely in celebration of themselves and their ability to change things.
It became a celebration of sisterhood, of compassion, of achievement – and the feelgood vibes that flowed out of that field literally brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.
I suddenly realised that if we had a government that was half as decent as the ordinary people of this country, we could achieve miracles. These women gave their time, their effort and their energy for nothing other than to help cancer sufferers. And their rabble-rousing motivational theme tune was Here Come The Girls.
In that moment, it became as significant and meaningful a song as Blowing In The Wind or Imagine, and all the more powerful because it was the women themselves who invested it with meaning.
Ernie, I thank you. Ladies, I salute you.